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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The G-Free Diet

I picked up a copy of the G-free diet by Elizabeth Hasselback at the library last week. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever go gluten-free, but I thought the book might be interesting, and the cover looked so cute I thought I'd check it out.

There was a lot of great information on celiac disease, which causes the body not to tolerate gluten. The first thing I learned from this book was that it takes constant work to make sure you aren't eating gluten! If any of you reading this haven't heard of Amy's blog, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, make sure to check it out. She has lots of great recipes and resources for those who are G-free.

The part of the book that I could most relate to is the Chapter "G-free and slim as can be!" Elisabeth explains healthy principles that can guide all of us in our food decisions, whether we are eating gluten or not.

From The G-Free Diet:

 "Gone are the days of living off foods with mile-long lists of ingredients, or one dimensional starches that left me forever craving more... without providing my body with the nutrients that it needed to thrive. I have more energy than before. I have more stamina to train and work out more efficiently. By default, when those factors are in synch, I tend to want to eat in a healthier way.

You, too may find that by building your diet around basic foods close to their natural state--foods direct from the earth such as fish and meats, fruits and vegetables and nuts-- you will nourish your body, instead of merely cluttering it with empty calories and unpronounceable chemicals...

We obsess over fat and calories but pay very little attention to actual ingredients in the foods we eat, and the essential nutrients that they should be delivering. Somehow, we lose sight of the fact that, quite simply, some foods are healthier and more nutritionally dense than others. Some foods fill us up and leave us happy and satisfied; other foods leave us constantly hungry for more. Foods that carry maximum nutritional impact are crucial , whether you have embarked on a particular diet out of necessity or by choice.

Most people can relate to episodes of overeating. Many times, you might feel a persistent dissatisfaction, even after a monster meal. Sound familiar? No matter what quantity of food you are eating, if your body is not getting the nutrients that it needs, it will continue to want more. Your body has an internal checklist of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that it needs every day to flourish. If your diet is not checking off every item on that list, your body sends signals to "keep on searching," to fill those nutritional deficiencies... thus throwing us into "overdrive eating."...

The secret to long-term health and fitness is not counting calories and fat and leaping on the scale first thing every morning. (I have done all of the above.)  Though these numbers may make you feel more in control, the critical information is what's behind those numbers. You can get triple the amount of fat from a bag of almonds than from a bag of M&M's, but the nutritional content isn't even in the same ballpark. In terms of heat and energy burned, 2000 calories is 2000 calories. That said, eating 2000 calories of junk a day would leave you with a significant mineral and vitamin deficiency-- and a significant lack of energy. Eventually, your body is going to cry uncle. Going G-free forces you to step up and start looking at the big picture."

EAting healthier for most of us doesn't have to mean going without gluten. It does mean making conscious decisions about our food. We need to choose whole over processed foods. We have to pay attention to what we're eating so that we can nourish our bodies.

Here are my suggestions to put this into practice:

1. Cook! Make something you would normally buy. If you make it, you can be sure of the ingredients.
2. Try something new. Quinoa. Kale. Flaxseed oil.
3. Read the list of ingredients rather than the nutritional facts on packages. Find out what your food is, rather than how much fat or calories it contains.
4. Take a look at your wheat intake. Try going wheat-free for a meal, a day, or more.

This post is part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Two for Tuesdays, and Tuesday Tag Along.


  1. Thanks for entering your review at Two for Tuesdays...I probably wouldn't have even looked twice at the book (sorry, Elizabeth irks me)...but I'm glad to know what somebody thought of it!! =)

  2. Could you reduce the font size on the book excerpt? It is so big that I can't even tolerate reading it! Sorry! I think it will be more reader-friendly if you make this small change.

  3. I was diagnosed via a nutritionist in December b/c I was complaining of stomach cramps after eating certain foods and I was feeling much more sluggish than usual after a days & months of doing my daily routines. I took a swab test and found I was gluten intolerant and what a shock that was! I considered getting Elizabeth Hasselbeck's book but read reviews that her ingo is not that comprehensive but I may check it out just out of curiousity. I found a lot of great info on and through lots of research. I must say that I feel a whole lot healthier after giving up gluten; my stomach doesn't bloat 1/2 as badly when I'm on my menstrual cycle not that I've gone gluten free. It's amazing how much processed food I was eating prior to my diagnosis and I consider myself a healthy eater!
    Thanks for such a great post. I found you via the Tuesday Tag-Along! I am a new follower!

  4. Girlichef, thanks for hosting the two for tuesdays.
    @Anonymous, Is that better? :)
    @TheTeachersPets, welcome! glad you're here. Although I'm obviously still eating gluten, I used to eat a lot of processed food and I also thought it was healthy (just because it was low fat or low cal or something like that).

  5. When did Elizabeth realize she was gluten intolerant? It had to be after she was on Survivor. I remember she was down to like 95lbs subsisting on nothing but rice and fish.

  6. Saw you over at Twee Poppets TTA. I heard about this book but have not checked it out...I think I may. My hubby cannot eat gluten for other reasons and I just did a raw food detox...and I am passionate about checking ingredients and eating real food. I am following.
    504 Main

  7. I've never read this book, but I can relate. I've been gf for nearly four years now, and it instantly made my food choices healthier. Gone are foods with a mile-long list of ingredients. I think most would think that going gf would be a bother, but not only has it made me feel infinitely better, but it made me re-evalute my food choices. Going gf has saved me, in more than one sense.

  8. @motherhen68, It took Elisabeth a long time to get diagnosed. She was in pain for years. Doctors thought maybe she had irritable bowel syndrome, but nothing was helping. She was sick before she went on Survivor, but said that she felt better on the show than she had previously (because she was G-free, even though she didn't understand at the time). It took her a couple of years after the show to get diagnosed.
    @Holly, welcome! If you are cooking for someone who is G-free, this book has some good ideas on how to do that.
    @Butterpoweredbike, that's just what Elisabeth was saying. I skipped this part, but she said that even if she could eat gluten again, she wouldn't go back, because she makes much better, healthier choices now, instead of a diet that consisted mostly of wheat.

  9. Elizabeth is annoying but I'm glad she's getting the word out about gluten. She (or doctors) figured out she had celiac disease when she was trying to get pregnant with her second baby. She'd been trying to get pregnant with her second and couldn't and gluten was the reason.

    Did you know that even those grains you don't consider to have gluten still contains smalls amount (ie rice?)

    We don't do grains in my family and we've never felt better. My older son actually put on weight after going grain-free.

    If one does eat grains, she should soak/sprout them - it makes them more digestible.

  10. @ Anonymous, interesting. I didn't know that all grains had gluten. But generally rice can be eaten by people with celiac disease, right?
    Also, I completely agree about soaking or sprouting. We don't have any food allergies, but when I forget to soak our grains for bread or pancakes or something, I can feel a difference. Unsoaked/ unsprouted wheat sits so much heavier on your stomach.

  11. I wanted to say thanks for sharing my blog with your's wonderful to know that you like my work. I've never read her book - but I will say that eating whole foods leaves me satisfied. I enjoy baking and creating healthier desserts but they're a small part of my overall diet.

    About the grains - my understanding is that there are people who can't eat gluten and then there are people who need a grain free diet. They are two different things. Rice is gluten-free as long as it's processed in a gluten-free facility.

  12. @Amy, thanks for stopping by and for clearing that up about the rice.

  13. Hi Channy! Thanks so much for participating in the two for tuesday recipe blog hop and i hope to see you next week! With a lot of folks I know gluten intolerant or sensitive, it is good to have a review of this book! Keep it REAL! alex

  14. What a great list of suggestions to put into practice. Thanks so much for sharing this book with us on our Two for Tuesday blog hop! I hope you join us again next week :)

  15. Great ideas to put into practice, especially reading the ingredients rather than the nutrition panel. Just because something has 90 calories, it doesn't mean it is good for you. I am glad to be a part of Two for Tuesdays.